5 Training Principles for Cyclists

There are many points of view among cyclists and coaches about what the proper way of training is. But most of them do have one thing in common, which is to maximize the amount of adaptation in the shortest time possible. Even if you have months or even years to train, like it is in Olympic athletes, one will still try to maximize the possible gains during that given time. For that reason, I believe that all cyclists following a training plan must have and follow strictly a set of training principles. This will help to guide them during the hard times and will make sure that you will keep growing one time after another.

Here are 5 of the training principles that I follow closely and apply to all my athlete training plans:

  • Less is more
    • Many times, cyclists like to go as fast as they can, for as long as they can. In the weekend group ride, on the Tuesday ride, even in recovery days. The thought behind this is that if they go fast all the time, they will keep getting faster and faster. Unfortunately, that is not the case most of the time, fatigue kicks in, and instead of riding faster, they tend to ride slower. This will usually turn into a downward spiral that can only be stopped with proper recovery and guidance.
  • Recovery is king
    • Recovery will maximize the effectiveness of every athlete training. It will allow the body to adapt to all the changes we are trying to achieve. It will allow the athlete to put out the best numbers of the season. It will do miracles for him and allow him to reach levels that were thought unattainable. But only if done properly, too much and you undertrain, too little and you overtrain. It is about finding a balance and following common-sense tasks like sleeping at least 8 hours per night.
  • Numbers are only numbers
    • While technology has allowed us to maximize our gains during training, it has as well blinded us of what we are possible of doing. The numbers that are provided to us by this technology are only statistics and information that are supposed to help us make smarter decisions. But we have to be aware that they do not decide the race results if they did why would we even have them. We could just look at their FTP using a watts per kilogram measurements and decide the winner. We all know that this is not how winning is done, it takes much more than numbers. Winning tests the mental and physical capacity of every cyclist, and ultimately the combination of these aspects is what I believe decides who the winner is.
  • Cycling it’s a 50% physical and 50% mental game
    • As mentioned, it takes more than just good numbers and being in great shape to win races. It takes being mentally strong equally as it does to be physically fit. For example, many times in my mountain bike races I see how on the last section of the race the lead group is starting to feel the fatigue. At this point is where the mental games start, and normally the person that can take the most pain is the one that will win the race. A good mental exercise that I like to prescribe for these situations is to remind yourself of this, that everybody is tired, but that you can be the best out of all the fatigued competitors.
  • Success will not come without a goal and a reason
    • In order to succeed and reach the level that you dream of, you have to have your goals set and a good reason to achieve them. Cycling is a sport that takes a lot of the athlete’s time away, and after a while, they notice that it will not come back. Because of this, all athletes of this level need to have a clear path to follow by having properly set goals, as well as why they want to achieve them. This will help them keep them in track and minimize any setbacks that could occur.

 

This are my training principles, which I have obtained in over 20 years of racing, riding, training, and coaching experience. They tend to fit most cyclists, but if you have different ones please do contact me so that I can learn from them. One is only dumb when he thinks he knows it all.

If you like my training principles and would like to be coached by me, you can contact me using the form on this site or calling me at (619) 339 – 9309

Written by:

Gilberto Cortez - USA Cycling, TrainingPeaks & NICA Certified Coach

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